Elven Steeds are the among best of all horse breeds that inhabit the Warhammer World.
All High Elves, Wood Elves and Dark Elves use Elven Steeds. They are noble, intelligent, quick, graceful and beautiful beasts and their agility is not comparable to that of any other horse of those employed by other minor races. While the horses of Bretonnia and those of the Empire are strong, resilient and faithful horses, elven horses are trained to be quick, agile and cunning.
Few humans can match the skill and mastery of the elves riders. Such is the confidence that the elven steeds feel for their masters who will ride impassively to the heat of battle without the need for their rider to give them a spoken instruction. The bond between an elf and his mount does not require the brutality or provocation that smaller races employ to force their unruly horses to go to battle.
Elven steeds are from the island of Ulthuan, and although they are in all the elven kingdoms, the best are from the vast plains of Ellyrion, where large herds of horses ride loudly. It is a land of pleasant summers and mild winters. Touched by the beneficent magic and fed by the great pastures of the steppe, the steeds of Ellyrion are the fastest and noblest of the beasts of four legs. Fast as the wind and loyal to death, it is the perfect mount for the elven nobility. For this the Dark Elves envy their Ellyrian kin, they will roam large areas for the sole purpose of stealing Ellyrion steeds and use them for their own cavalry, trying to steal more specifically those of black color.
The Horse Lords of Ellyrion live in harmony with their mounts. They prefer not to break the spirit of their mounts with an extended taming process. Instead, they charm them with magic and the horses obey them voluntarily. The Elves reward this loyalty with kindness. They persecute any stranger who damages their steeds and punishes them with the utmost severity. A well-known proverb in Ulthuan says: "Better to harm the brother of an Ellyrian than his horse". When the elves began to explore the world and founded colonies overseas, they brought whole herds of these horses with them. After centuries living in the Old World, the elves came into conflict against the Dwarfs in the so-called War of the Beard. After their defeat, the elves settlers left the Old World and returned to Ulthuan, many of the Elven steeds were abandoned, becoming feral. These herds of elven horses roamed freely through the meadows and plains around the abandoned elven ruins, crossing with the wild horses that lived there. Over time, this mixture of blood resulted in the creation of a new breed, the Bretonnian Warhorse.
However not all the elves decided to leave the Old World, some of them decided to stay. These elves were the ancestors of the Wood Elves of Athel Loren. One of the elven lineages that remained took their elven steeds with them to the safety of the clearings of the forest, where they now graze on the southern plains of the forest. The few foreigners who come to see these horses frolicking in the prairies refuse to believe that they are magical beings who have crossed their path. Indeed, Steeds Athel Loren have no more magic than any other forest dweller, apart from the infinite joy of every child born in freedom. In times of peace, these horses graze in different clearings until their horsemen return to require their services.
The Dark Elves also used Elven steeds, but given the nature of the Druchii and their breeding methods, gave rise to a variant of elven horse, known as Dark Steed, a cruel and heartless parody of this noble horse breed.
Known Elven Steeds
- Korhandir -- fabled father of all horses.
- Maladhros -- steed of Princess Eldyra.
- Orsien -- steed of Rhianna Éadaoin; a fine, silver gelding from Saphery with dappled flanks and a haughty intelligence to his pale green eyes.[6a]
- Sarothiel -- steed of Arandir Swiftwing, slain by a poisoned crossbow bolt.
- In Ellyrion, black steeds are considered unlucky, perhaps because of their connection to Dark Steeds.[6b]
- Sapherian mounts are considered haughty, though not always the case. Their coats are lambent and silky with magical residue.[6b][7a]
- Ellyrian steeds leave no signs of their passing, making them impossible to track without magic.[6c]
- In Sons of Ellyrion, Ellyrian steeds are shown capable of finding their way back to Ellyrion from anywhere in Ulthuan.[7b]
- Also in Sons of Ellyrion, it is shown that upon asking a steed of Ellyrion its name, the rider will find said-name appear within their thoughts. It is unclear if only asur and steeds of Ellyrion are able to do this, or if all Elven steeds are as such. This effect, however, does not apply beyond name, as neither steed nor rider appear telepathic.[7c]
- Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Old World Bestiary (pg. 122).
- Warhammer Armies: High Elves (7th Edition)
- Warhammer Armies: High Elves (4th Edition)
- Warhammer Armies: Wood Elves (6th Edition)
- Warhammer Armies: Bretonnia (5th Edition)
- 6: Defenders of Ulthuan (novel) by Graham McNeill
- 7: Sons of Ellyrion (novel) by Graham McNeill